What to Expect When You’re DoinGood: 5k Edition

17May11

Warm weather is upon us Atlanta and, whether you’re a hardcore runner or a part-time jogger like myself, it’s that time of the year again: Run/Race Season! We’re lucky in that Atlanta is a fun race market and we’ve got plenty of options to choose from if we want to get out there and pound the pavement for a cause on any given weekend. Signing up for an run/race/walk can be double the DoinGood: running and/or walking are excellent exercise and a lot of events in our area also serve as fundraisers for some excellent causes. But what if you want to support the organization but are not feeling 3.2 miles, don’t feel like fundraising is your forte or are an injured runner who still wants to be on the scene? Lucky you, most of these events always need an extra pair of hands or legs or eyes. Go volunteer!

I’ve volunteered at a few different 5ks and had different experiences at each. At the very first, I learned a very valuable lesson: check the list of volunteer positions needed and make sure it’s a match for what you like. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a miserable mismatch like I did. I’m not exactly a butterfly but I like to be social when I volunteer. At this particular race, however, I ended up flying solo as a course monitor/traffic halter in an empty foreign-to-me neighborhood at the end of the 5k course. In a word: lonely. I’m fortunate to be able to contrast that with experience I had at the 5k I volunteered at last year for Skin Cancer Awareness Network Foundation. I spent what turned out to be a very fun morning assisting the Volunteer Coordinator with whatever needed to be done, whether it was making sure we had enough fliers, pointing racers in the direction of the port-a-potties, or helping prep the awards table for after the race. Since I kinda like being a busy body generalist anyway, I enjoyed having a variety of things to do and hop around and talk to/help people. I’ve also worked registration at a race, which was a good way to experience the different runners’ personalities, and been on clean-up crew, which netted me enough bananas for a month’s worth of smoothies during a time when I was flat broke. The great thing is that there’s something for every type of volunteer when you go to help out at a race/run/walk.

Here are few events that I know are looking for volunteers. Get out and help – usually comes with a free t-shirt, sometimes some pretty good swag and, best of all, the satisfaction of knowing you were DoinGood.

  • SCAN Foundation’s 5th Annual Save Our Skin Walk/Run is on June 25th at Perimeter Place. I found it to be a very good experience, with the volunteer roles needed for the race being very clearly laid out. Interested in helping out? Fill out this form or email amyhokkanen@hotmail.com for more info.
  • Unless you spend your summer living under a rock, you should be familiar with the Peachtree Road Race, an Atlanta 4th of July weekend tradition. Did you know it takes nearly 3,400 volunteers to pull off this event?! They need all the help they can get. There are a few volunteer needs in the weekends leading up to the race as well as during race weekend: http://www.peachtreeroadrace.org/pages/volunteer-job-descriptions
  • Looking for more races to volunteer with? Check out active.com for listings of local races and contact the organizers. Or get in contact with Atlanta Track Club, which is always looking for help for the many races around town they put on throughout the year.


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